Abbaye Royale de l'Épau

France > Pays de la Loire > Sarthe > 72530 > Yvré-l'Évêque > Route de Changé

Founded in 1230 by Berengaria of Navarre, widow of Richard the Lionheart, it is one of the most beautiful Cistercian jewels in France. It was acquired by the Department of Sarthe in 1959.

The Royal Abbey of Epau is one of the most beautiful examples of Cistercian architecture in France. In 1230, Berengaria of Navarre, widow of Richard the Lionheart, decided to found this abbey at the gates of Le Mans, where she was buried a year later. During the Revolution, the abbey, almost deserted by the monks since the 18th century, was sold as national property to an industrialist. Transformed into a farm, the abbey went through many ups and downs before being bought by the Sarthe Department in 1959. A vast restoration program, still in progress, has given the abbey a new lease on life, making it one of the most important cultural sites in the Sarthe. The abbey also hosts the meetings of the departmental assembly, of which it has been the seat since the 1970s. Since July 1, 2016, its management is entrusted to the Cultural Center of the Sarthe whose mission is to offer a new dimension, in order to strengthen its cultural role on the territory. Recently, the research of Father Michel Niaussat, a Cistercian monk and writer, has brought to light the royal character of the building. The Abbey of Epau became the Royal Abbey of Epau in March 2017. In parallel to this cultural and touristic growth, another flagship project will guide the development of the abbey in the coming years: the transformation of the park into a permaculture garden. It should be remembered that prayer and work times were equivalent in the Cistercian rule. This agricultural dimension is at the heart of the departmental project whose ultimate goal is to restore the original principles of the place as faithfully as possible. The abbey, which has preserved almost all of its buildings, is located at the gates of Le Mans. It is inserted in a park of 13 ha closed delimited by a surrounding wall.

Abbaye Royale de l'Épau  France Pays de la Loire Sarthe Yvré-l'Évêque 72530

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Datatourism data updated on: 2024-03-15 00:47:18.273